Friday, March 5, 2010

International concerns hinder Loreto title bid

Once again, Loreto must endeavour to keep their tilt at the Leinster division one crown afloat without their international contingent as they host Railway Union at Beaufort.

Louisa Healy, Nikki Symmons (right), Niamh Small and Lizzie Colvin are the absentees this time at the Celtic Cup while Nicci Daly is available for selection.

The quartet appeared in a pre-tournament challenge fixture against France just three hours after landing in Nice. Symmons was on target from the penalty spot in the 20th minute before goals from Apolline Rogeau and Elise Presey turned the tide France's way. They play again at 2.30pm today.

Emma Smyth is also on that trip to Nice meaning a big difference in personnel from the pre-Christmas tie between the sides – one of the highlights of the season to date, a 3-2 win for the Park Avenue outfit.

A loss for Loreto would leave them with, at a minimum, four points to make up over the five remaining league ties – a tough task given they have no remaining fixtures against direct rivals.

Hermes, meanwhile, have a tester if they are to remain at the top of the pile, hosting Old Alex. The Booterstown club have been in rude health in the league since Christmas, banging in 20 goals in five fixtures, while last week’s IHL bonus point win over Randalstown shows they are certainly in the mood.

For schoolgirls Gillian Pinder, Deirdre Duke, Niamh Atcheler and Chloe Watkins, it has been a hectic fortnight of action and they hold up after their midweek cup involvement could be a factor. Alex go to the coast with Roisin Flinn unavailable.

UCD will be without Lisa Jacob for the visit of Glenanne and will need to be wary of an effective corner routine if they are to maintain fourth spot.

Pembroke travel to Santry looking to escape the lower reaches of the table. Their mixed form, though, has seen them winless in the league since December when they ousted the students 3-0.

Impressive showings in the Jacqui Potter and the IHL suggest they do not lack for ability with Sarah Clarke and Karen Hales powerful influences.

They face another key tie on Sunday when they travel again outside the M50 ring to face Glenanne.

On Saturday, David Bane’s side are usually a tough nut to crack, conceding just three times since that league loss to Pembroke.

Bray, without Mary Goode, will also be looking to pick off points with a degree of urgency as they travel to Whitechurch Park. Failure to do so could see the side condemned to tenth place with a tough run-in consisting of Railway, Hermes and UCD still to come.

Meanwhile, Monkstown ladies became the first women’s side to win their league as they beat Clontarf III 3-0 in midweek to win Division 8.

And they will hope to exact some revenge on YMCA on Saturday in the Irish Hockey Challenge semi-final. YM won the equivalent fixture last year 4-1 but the Town, bounding up the divisions, will aim to close the gap in a battle of two recently inaugurated clubs.

Leinster Women’s Division One:
Sat: Corinthian v Bray, 12.45pm, Whitechurch; Hermes v Old Alex, 2.30pm, St Andrew’s; Loreto v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Beaufort; Trinity v Pembroke, 3.30pm, Santry; UCD v Glenanne, 4pm, UCD
Sunday: Glenanne vs Pembroke, 4.30pm, Glenanne Park

Women’s Irish Hockey Challenge (Sat)
Monkstown v YMCA, 1.30pm, Rathdown; Raphoe v Fermoy, 1pm, Royal & Prior


Anonymous said...

Chrissy you're famous!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is the international schedule effectively going to decide the league? Not the way it should be

Time for all the respective hockey bodies in Ireland to get together and work out a fixture schedule that works.

Anonymous said...

Loreto managed to beat Hermes without their internatioals this season showing that they have a strong squad. I wouldn't be ruling them out. Railway also have beaten a full strength Loreto and they will be missing Smyth tomorrow. It will be an interesting fixture and don't think the standard will drop much from the last match which was very fast and high quality